With his deep and beautiful vocal backed by a tight longtime band, The Stragglers, Jason Boland rocks classic country, and for his new album Dark & Dirty Mile, he and his producer, Shooter Jennings, insisted on keeping things “classic” on the technical side, too.
“I worked with Jason on several of his records. He actually recorded his very first record here,” says John Ross Silva, the chief engineer at Cedar Creek Recording (Austin, Texas), where they made Dark & Dirty Mile. “Jason asked me, ‘Would you be up for making an all-analog, no-computers-involved record?’ I said, ‘I’m completely onboard doing something like that, but are you?’ I wanted to make sure they understood the limitations. But Jason said, ‘That’s how I did my first record, and I still think it’s the best-sounding one I’ve ever done.’”
Silva tracked Boland and band live to a Studer A827 24-track machine, using the pre’s in the studio’s 1973 custom 32-input Neve console, as well as some outboard 1073s.
To keep the track count down, Silva minimized drum inputs: “We made a subkick—a reverse NS10 speaker on the kick drum with a D112 [AKG mic] on the inside,” he says. “We used just a top snare mic, and I put a mono [Neumann] U 87 up as an overhead, but a little higher up, and then two Coles ribbon mics as close, mono, kit/tom mics. They weren’t necessarily tom mics because they weren’t that close, they were more in front of the rack a little farther back, with one underneath the floor tom to get some low rumble.”